It was as if he was on steroids, says Delhi police officer who fought ‘Gramin Sewa’ driver
The Delhi Police sought to pin the blame of Monday’s attack on the ‘Gramin Sewa’ driver and claimed that he began attacking some policemen with a sword outside the Mukherjee Nagar police station on Sunday after his vehicle hit a police van, after which he resorted to “road rage”.
The sword attack and a subsequent violent protest later in the day left eight policemen, including an assistant commissioner of police (ACP) injured. The ACP was chased, shoved and pushed to the ground as a mob turned violent outside the police station around 1.30am on Monday. The video of the mob chasing the officer was widely circulated on social media groups.
“I was pacifying the crowd about the action being taken against the policemen accused of assault when some people chased and beat me up. My colleagues and someone from the crowd saved me,” the ACP, KC Tyagi, said.
Madhur Verma, Delhi Police spokesperson, said a preliminary enquiry by the police revealed that the Gramin Sewa had hit the police vehicle. “The Gramin Sewa driver then began resorting to road rage. When the driver of the police vehicle asked him to accompany him to the police station, he responded by pulling out his sword and attacking the policemen,” Verma said.
Armed with stick, around a dozen policemen came to the aid of their colleague, but most of them backed off when the driver begins swinging the sword at them, a video showed. It was at that time that an assistant sub-inspector (ASI), Yograj Singh, approached the driver from behind and gripped him. “Had I not caught the man, he would have stabbed three-four of my colleagues,” Singh said.
He added that the driver was “extremely strong”. “It seemed like he was on steroids, but I held on to him,” said the ASI, who suffered a deep gash to his head in the sword attack.
He added that for much of the time, he had the driver under a firm grasp. “I had held both his arms in my grip. I kept telling my colleagues that he couldn’t harm them as long as I held on to him. But had my colleagues and the bystanders responded to my calls, we could have overpowered him peacefully without much damage,” he said.
“Frustrated, I asked the people around me whether they would respond only after he killed a few. The driver’s son even tried to mow us down with his vehicle. A constable was badly injured. It is clearly seen in the video,” said Singh, whose family lives in Mandi in Himachal Pradesh and isn’t aware of the incident yet.
Some residents who witnessed the incident, but didn’t want to be identified, said the driver’s son repeatedly shouted that he would shoot half-a-dozen policemen if he could get his hand on any policeman’s gun.
However, the police acknowledged that there were “excesses” by officers who thrashed and dragged the driver and his minor son even after they were overpowered and disarmed. After analysing videos of the incident, the police have suspended three policemen allegedly involved in assaulting the two even after overpowering them. The police have also registered a first information report (FIR) against personnel involved in allegedly assaulting the two.
Verma said, “Once they were overpowered and disarmed, beating and dragging them was unprofessional. We expected a better response from the policemen even if they were attacked,” he said.
When the driver and his son were finally overpowered, they were taken to the police station where the boy was allegedly thrashed by the police again. On Sunday evening, images of the driver with thick red marks on his back surfaced. Verma said it was a matter for the enquiry to ascertain whether the father-son duo was tortured inside the police station.